OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
Officials in Pennsylvania have blamed a “coding error” after an electronic voting machine was found to have flipped votes in a local election earlier this month, a glitch that will no doubt add new fuel to criticism of such machines and a new call for a return to paper ballots.
“A coding error in Northampton County, Pennsylvania’s voting machines, caused a significant issue during a recent election. The glitch resulted in votes being incorrectly flipped on a ballot question concerning the retention of two state judges,” Resist the Mainstream reported.
The glitch impacted votes for candidates vying for the Pennsylvania Superior Court, specifically Judges Jack Panella and Victor Stabile, as reported by The Associated Press. According to County Executive Lamont McClure, votes that were originally marked as “yes” to retain one judge and “no” for the other were erroneously switched on printouts from touchscreen ballot machines.
The reports indicated that the issue was substantial, impacting over 300 voting machines. Voters became aware of the glitch upon observing inconsistencies on printed records. The AP reported that the Pennsylvania Department of State verified that the problem was confined to Northampton County and did not occur in any other races.
“Panella’s votes will be returned to Panella, and Stabile’s will be returned to Stabile,” McClure said, downplaying the severity of the malfunction and referring to it as a “relatively minor glitch.”
“The county has pointed to the voting machine vendor, Election Systems & Software (ES&S), as the source of the error. Katina Granger, a spokesperson for ES&S, attributed the mistake to human error and emphasized that it was an isolated incident, affecting only the judicial retention question in Northampton County,” Resist The Mainstream added.
The issue of electronic voting machines has really come into play since the 2020 election, when advocates and attorneys for then-President Donald Trump claimed — without evidence that could convince courts — that votes were ‘flipped’ from him to then-Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
In January, former Arizona Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake praised an Arkansas county court for its decision to reject electronic voting machines in all future elections, choosing instead to return to paper ballots in a move designed to boost election integrity and confidence in outcomes.
In a tweet lauding the decision by a Cleburne County court, Lake also included a link to a KARK report detailing the ruling:
Officials with the Arkansas Voter Integrity Initiative Inc. (AVII) said the vote was in response to AVII CEO Colonel Conrad Reynolds’ push for election computers to be removed from Arkansas elections. The decision will now require votes to be hand counted.
“The machines do not read the names on the ballots, instead, they scan barcodes, which humans cannot read,” Reynolds said. “They also utilize proprietary software that we are not allowed to examine. This all means voters cannot verify that their vote is being counted properly as mandated by state law.”
An attorney with AVII noted that according to Arkansas state law, each county has the right to choose its voting process.
Cleburne County Justice of the Peace Jacque Martin voted in favor of moving to paper ballots. “It’s time we take back and return to having elections we can have faith in – with transparency and integrity,” Martin said, according to KARK.
Officials with AVII noted they will attempt to get the rest of the state’s 74 counties to return to paper ballots by the end of this year.
In her tweet, Lake said, “Americans in EVERY state and EVERY community must demand honest elections. No electronic voting machines, replace election month with election day and paper ballots that are hand-counted in small precincts. We demand honest & transparent elections NOW!”